CAR Crisis: House Wants FG To Expedite Action On Evacuation Of Nigerians
SAN FRANCISCO, January 05, 2014, (THEWILL) - The House of Representatives Committee on Foreign Affairs has called on the Federal Government to make concrete arrangements to evacuate Nigerians in troubled Central African Republic (CAR) .
Chairman of the committee, Hon.
Nnena Elendu- Ukeje, who made the call in Abuja, said the time has also come for the Federal Government to become proactive in evacuating Nigerians in strife-torn countries lest they be stranded in such places.
"My committee would urge, as it urged in the one for Central African Republic (CAR), that we begin to make arrangement to evacuate our people in South Sudan," she said.
According to her, the ad hoc approach to emergencies like what is happening in Central African Republic (CAR) and South Sudan may be inimical to the interest of Nigerian citizens in such places.
She said it was time that Nigeria puts in place a standard evacuation procedure that could be activated within 24 hours.
Ukeje said " With everything that's going on, we can't afford to be reactionary.
It's about time to get pre-emptive.
We've spoken about Central African Republic (CAR), now its South Sudan, Egypt is boiling, the Philippines is boiling, goodness knows where else would erupt, everywhere is boiling! "And of course, you know all these places are highly incendiary, you can't tell what is going to happen in another couple of hours.
I think that we have to start to get ready and have some standard operating procedure to start to evacuate our people.
"There should be a standard operating system, especially in these countries where there are flash points, so that once we begin to anticipate that things are going to degenerate, then we can deploy within 24 hours.
" She however advised Nigerians who travel to foreign countries to ensure that they register at the Nigerian Embassies in those countries in their own interest.
This, she said, would aid logistics, planning and successful evacuation in times of emergency.
"Nigerians, for God's sake, when they get to these countries, should go and register at the embassy.
So that at least we know, so that we can project how many Nigerians there are in a particular country.
Because right now, it's such an ad hoc arrangement.
"Such data would allow us know what it's costing us, how many aircraft we're taking there and what arrangements to make on ground," she said.
Elendu-Ukeje however warned Nigerians against jumping into troubled spots around the world.
"Nigerians should be mindful of where they go .
Though the Nigerian Government owes its nationals a responsibility, the citizens also owe themselves the responsibility to stay alive.
"And where they find themselves in such places, when they see that the situation is getting bad, they should start to make moves to come back, so that we're not constantly caught in the cross- hairs," she said.
The committee chairman, who expressed delight at the successful evacuation of 474 Nigerians from the crisis-ridden Central African Republic at the weekend said her committee, working in collaboration with the Foreign Affairs Ministry, would always champion the safety of Nigerians in such emergency.
By Saint Mugaga, Abuja